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Recordings or summaries of consultations for people with cancer

  • Review
  • Intervention




Many people find it difficult to remember information provided during medical consultations. One way of improving this may be to provide a record of the conversation.


This review examined the effects of providing recordings or summaries of their consultations to people with cancer and their families.

Search methods

We searched the following sources: The Cochrane Library (issue 2 2007); MEDLINE (1966 to 29 May 2007); CINAHL (1982 to 29 May 2007); Dissertation Abstracts (1861 to 29 May 2007; Index to Theses 29 May 2007; EMBASE (1985 to 29 May 2007); PsycINFO (1967 to 29 May 2007); AMED (1985 to 29 May 2007); British Nursing Index (1985 to May 2007); SCI-EXPANDED, SSCI (1986 to 3 June 2007); and Sociological Abstracts (1998 to 29 May 2007). For the initial (1999) publication of this review we also searched the following databases: Sociofile; Cancerlit; IAC Health & Wellness; JICST; Pascal; ERIC; ASSIA; Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts; Mental Health Abstracts; CAB Health; DHSS-Data; MANTIS.

Selection criteria

Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials that evaluate the effects of providing recordings (for example, audiotapes) or summaries (for example, a letter with reminders of key points) of consultations to people with cancer or their families.

Data collection and analysis

Two authors assessed studies for inclusion. Data were extracted by one author and checked by another author. We assessed study quality on seven criteria. We used a systematic approach to data extraction to produce a descriptive summary of studies, and present a narrative synthesis of the results.

Main results

We included sixteen controlled trials involving 2318 adult participants. The studies measured diverse outcomes. Many of the participants found recordings or summaries of their consultations valuable, with between 60% and 100% of participants (across twelve studies) reading the summary or listening to the recording at least once. The recordings were used to help inform family and friends (range 41.5% to 94.4% of participants in nine studies). Five out of nine studies reported better recall of information for those receiving recordings or summaries. Three out of ten studies found that participants provided with a recording or summary were more satisfied. No studies (out of ten) found any statistically significant difference between groups in terms of anxiety or depression. Three studies evaluated the effects on quality of life, but found no main effects. No study evaluated the intervention's effects on survival.

Authors' conclusions

The provision of recordings or summaries of key consultations may benefit most adults with cancer. Although more research is needed to improve our understanding of these interventions, most patients find them very useful. Practitioners should consider offering people recordings or written summaries of their consultations








我們搜尋了以下資料來源: The Cochrane Library (2007年第2期); MEDLINE (1966 年至2007年5月29日); CINAHL (1982年至2007年5月29日); Dissertation Abstracts (1861年至 2007年5月29日; Index to Theses (2007年5月29日); EMBASE (1985年至 2007年5月29日); PsycINFO (1967年 2007年5月29日); AMED (1985年至2007年5月29日); British Nursing Index (1985年至2007年5月29日); SCIEXPANDED, SSCI (1986年至2007年6月3日) ,以及Sociological Abstracts (1998年至2007年5月29日) 。針對1999所發表的初版回顧性的文章,我們還擴大搜尋了以下資料庫:Sociofile; Cancerlit; IAC Health & Wellness; JICST; Pascal; ERIC; ASSIA; Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts; Mental Health Abstracts; CAB Health; DHSSData以及MANTIS。






我們納入了16個對照試驗,共有2318位成年之參與者,這些研究所測量之結果不盡相同。大部分參與者發現諮詢的錄音或摘要是有用的,在12個研究中,約60% −100% 的參與者,閱讀過摘要或聽過錄音帶至少1次。在9個研究中,41.5% 至94.4% 使用這些紀錄幫助告知患者的親友。在9個研究中,有5個顯示錄音或摘要可以幫助患者記憶。在10個研究中有3個發現收到摘要或錄音的患者有較高的滿意度。至於焦慮或沮喪的部份,則在10個研究中並無研究發現2組之間存在統計上顯著差異。有3個研究評估了這項介入對生活品質的影響,不過最後發現並未造成重大的影響。我們也發現到沒有研究評估過這項介入對存活狀況的影響。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院 (National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan) 統籌。



Plain language summary

Audio recordings or written summaries of key consultations for adults with cancer

Many people find it hard to remember medical consultations. Providing a record of the conversation may help. The review of trials examined the effects of giving people with cancer audio recordings or written summaries of consultations. Most people found them useful as a personal reminder, to inform their families or friends, or to play to their general practitioners. People tended to remember more of the information they were given, and some were more satisfied with the information they received. Recordings or summaries did not make people more anxious or depressed. The recordings had no effects on quality of life, and no studies measured survival.